Sunday, September 30, 2012

Airport Fee Flies Away

It may have only been $5, but it meant much more.
Since 1990, Palmerston North Airport has been one of very few airports in NZ forcing domestic passengers to pay an extra fee. The $5 tax was initially a levy for development at the airport, back in the brief bright days when a few international flights landed there. But it also allowed the airport to charge cheaper landing fees to airlines. It paid for terminal development (note the new toilets inside the front door: sarcastic wow!) and the construction of more carparking, which you also have to pay for. The development levy raised millions of dollars over the years and helped keep the airport ticking over.
Needless to say, it was unpopular. But today is the last day anyone has to pay it. From tomorrow, October 1st., it's gone.
While travellers may rejoice, Air New Zealand will not be so happy. The money shortfall will have to be recouped by the airport charging Air NZ more to use the facilities. That cost will no doubt be passed on in the ticket price.
"When I grow up, I wanna be a..."
In the long-term, it would be great to see international flights restarting from the Manawatu. That may be some way off, or it may never happen, as multiple ducks must be in a row before an airline can build a solid business case to fly in and out of Palmerston North from overseas.
For now, the unwanted levies remain in place at two other regionals, Hamilton and Rotorua, while "Palmie" remains a regional airport with big dreams (and no development tax)...

1 comment:

MuzzMan said...

And about bloody time too!